The Listing Process

First Stage: COSEWIC assesses the species and assigns it to a status category.

Potential categories are:

  • Extinct: a wildlife species that no longer exists.
  • Extirpated: a wildlife species no longer existing in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere.
  • Endangered: a wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened: A wildlife species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
  • Special Concern: a wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
  • Data Deficient: available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a wildlife species' eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the risk of extinction.
  • Not at Risk: a wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.

Assessments are:

  • based on status reports that consider biological criteria. Social and economic factors are not considered at this stage.
  • forwarded to the federal Minister of Environment and posted on the public registry.
  • reviewed by COSEWIC every 10 years, or more frequently when the status is believed to have changed.

Flammulated owl (c) Dick Cannings

Second Stage - The federal Cabinet determines the species' legal status.

  • The Minister of Environment must post a statement on the SARA Public Registry within 90 days, describing how he or she intends to respond to COSEWIC's assessment.
  • Within nine months, the federal Cabinet must change the legal (SARA) list to reflect COSEWIC's assessment, decide not to add the species to the list, or refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further consideration.
  • If the species is not listed in accordance with COSEWIC's assessment, reasons must be posted on the Public Registry.
  • Failure to meet the deadline results in the legal list being amended to reflect COSEWIC's assessment

 (c) Matthew Fairbarns